What is Grace? A concise answer by A.A. Hodge & B.B. Warfield

Johnson’s Universal Cyclopedia contains an article on “Calvinism” originally written jointly by A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield, and later revised by Warfield, which also appears in Warfield’s Selected Shorter Writings, Vol. 2. In this article the concept of grace is defined simply and concisely.

Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving. It is the motive of redemption in the mind of God. It is exercised in the sacrifice of his Son, in the free justification of the believing sinner on the ground of that Son’s vicarious obedience and sufferings, and in the total change wrought in that sinner’s moral character and actions by the energy of the Holy Ghost. While the word grace applies equally to the objective change in relations and the subjective change of character, it is used in this connection to designate the energy of the Holy Ghost whereby the moral nature of the human soul is renewed, and the soul, thus renewed, is enabled to act in compliance with the will of God.

The word grace has been at the heart of many theological controversies, but here the concept is laid before us clearly, and, thus simply defined, is worthy of our thankful meditation.